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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  August 23, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT

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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. first a look at the alarming new numbers out about children in poverty. since 2000, the number of children living in poverty in the u.s. has climbed by nearly 20% telling more than 14 million u.s. kids. first up, a conversation about the growing links between children and policy -- party with the ceo of the annie e. casey foundation, patrick mccarthy. and harry markopolos and his 10- year battle to bring down bernie madoff is the subject of a documentary. the film is based on "no one would listen". we are glad you joined us. patrick mccarthy and harry markopolos coming up now.
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>> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it's the cornerstone we all know. it's not just a street or boulevard, but a place where wal-mart stands together with your community to make every day better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and answer, help tavis improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. at we celebrate differences and the people who make them. toyota. proud supporter of the washington, d.c. martin luther king jr. national memorial project foundation. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television]
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tavis: a quick programming note. starting thursday, we will bring you a two-part special on the life and legacy of dr. martin luther king, jr. in advance of this weekend unveiling of the king memorial in washington. we will focus on dr. king pose a controversial stand against the vietnam war in the final years of his life and his most famous speech about the vietnam. dr. king drew a parallel between war and poverty and is an issue at the center of american life. i traveled around the country on a tour aimed at highlighting the plight of the poor. this fall we will bring you highlights from our trip during a special week of programming devoted to those suffering the most in our society. stay tuned for more details about that week on poverty in america this fall. last week, we got another sobering reminder of poverty
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when the annie e. casey foundation released their findings about the shocking number of children living in poverty in the united states. patrick mccarthy is the ceo of the annie e. casey foundation and joins us tonight from atlanta. good to have you on the program. thanks for time. >> thank you. happy to be here. tavis: let me start with white. why so many children and an increasing number of children in poverty in the richest nation in the world? >> i think we start with the incredible impact of the recession since 2007. we have seen 18% more children in poverty since the year 2000 through 2009 because of the recession. that means we have almost 15 million children living below the poverty line in this country. as of 2009. on top of that, we have got a total of 31 million children who actually live in families that make less than two under% of the
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federal poverty level. in other words, they are close to economic danger. one or two paychecks away from economic catastrophe. >tavis: why is this allow to happen to children? who is defending them? who was fighting for them? are they disposable, are they throwing because they cannot vote? while these numbers racking up so high when children are concerned? >> there is lots of different kinds of reasons. children do not vote. that is an important factor. the more important factor is you have a recession that has taken the guts out of employment especially for young families who have children. and so we are struggling with the question of how do you jump- start the economy to create some -- some jobs and protect children during this recession. that means investing in the kinds of things that protect families from economic problems and at the same time, invest in
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children so they will have a better chance of opportunity. tavis: if you judge a nation by how it treats its babies, if you judge a nation by how it treats its children, that is one of the things i judge in the nation, how you treat your children, if i am right, what does that say about our country that we have allowed so many children to fall into poverty? what does that say about us as a nation? >> one of the things that helped make this country great was the sense that if you worked hard and use your talents while, you would be on a path to opportunity. every single parent wants to tell their child that if they work hard, they will be successful. we are struggling with the sense that opportunity is slipping away. we are seeing more children end up where they started. if they started low on the economic ladder, the and a blow on the economic ladder. that is something we have to do something about.
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if you work hard you can be successful. >> if tavis: if we could not get an agreement on raising the debt ceiling, tell me why i should believe that when congress comes back they will take the findings seriously and talk about investing in and protecting programs that protect children. >> what we would hope is congressman as well as folks across the country, legislators to have to do with state level deficits as well as the national debt, as they take on these challenges, they will keep in mind that they have to deal with today's problems but they have to deal with the future. they have to deal with charting a path toward opportunity for children so we will not be in the same situation when we are in 2031 or 2041. james heckman said one of the
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best things we can do is to invest in young children. they are the future not only and -- in terms of their lives but they are the folks will be working and earning and contributing to this society as we move forward. tavis: the annie e. casey foundation is a non profit organizations. these things seem to be linked to me. i raised the notion of this debt ceiling legislation passed before congress took its recess. we know for the next 10 years, there are going to be massive cuts and some are two programs that benefit children. where are these -- how are children going to be impacted by this legislation? >> we think the most important thing is as the congress struggles with where to make cuts and how to bring the country's revenues in line with expenses, we have got to make some smart choices. there is tough choices but we
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have to make them smart choices and we think the way to do that is to keep in mind what is most important and we think investing in children is one of the most important things the country can do. what is most cost-effective? third, what is likely to contribute to the future and the legacy for today's policymakers? that means as we look at each individual program, each dollar that we spend, each dollar that we try to raise, are weak investing as wisely as we can into the future? for us that means investing in the economic success of families today because we know growing up in poverty reduces the chances for kids in the future. secondly, investing early in children. investing in prenatal care and early childhood programs and quality pre-kindergarten and early into -- elementary school as well. tavis: what does the casey foundation know about the impact poverty has on children long term? how does poverty impact social,
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cultural, physical, psychological, their spiritual development when they live in poverty for year after year? >> there is a great deal of research on the impact of poverty on children. we now that the younger the child and the longer the child spends in poverty, the higher the odds are they will be successful. we know that children who grow up in poverty are likely to be poor. less likely to have good attachments to the labour force. less likely to graduate from high school and go on to college. more likely to become involved with the criminal justice system. more likely to suffer from substance abuse and mental health problems. poverty is one of the biggest predictors of rotten outcomes for children that we have. there is recent research that looked at the last four recessions that shows that even children who started out above the poverty line incident to party for some time as a result of recession, when compared to other children who did not slip into poverty, those children and up doing less well in school and
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the more likely to be held back, less likely to graduate, and even having serious health problems. tavis: i would say on this poverty tour that the new poor in this country are the former middle class. i take the point you just may now to heart and hope our listeners do for those who are in the middle class and our paycheck or two away. even middle-class children fall into poverty. the end up paying for that never mind the middle class values they are raised with. let me ask what you -- your hope is for policy makers when they come back to washington in terms of take away from this data that everyone seems to be talking about senger release the data. >> people have begun to realize that you have to invest today in families' economic success for their children to be successful tomorrow. we have lots of research that says you have to invest early in children in order for them to be successful. we're starting to recognize that
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we have to figure out a way to start creating jobs, unemployment has now affected 8 million children, twice the number since the beginning of the recession. you have 11% of children in families with one unemployed parent and other children living in families where the parent has been out of work so long they have dropped out of the labor force. you have almost half of the unemployed have been unemployed for more than six months and they have children. that is a devastating effect. we're also seeing a huge impact of foreclosure on children. we're seeing 5.3 million children impacted by foreclosure between 2000 and -- 2007 and 2009. that is not counting 2010 and 2011. that is not counting those children who are impacted because the place where they live, their landlord was foreclosed upon and as renters, they were forced to move out. this is for children in this
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country and huge, huge crisis. tavis: if 30 seconds to go. -- we have 30 seconds to go. i hate it when we color code the conversation about poverty. when we see poverty we only think we're talking about black kids. who are these children in america that we're talking about who are impoverished? were these kids? >> if you start with the fact that 42% of america's children are living in families that make less than 200% of the poverty level, that is 44 or $45,000 for family of four. that is 42% of america's children. it goes beyond children of color. it is important to say that children of color are disproportionately impacted by this economic crisis. both from the standpoint of employment and the loss of assets that comes from foreclosure. tavis: patrick mccarthy is the ceo of the annie e. casey foundation. doing -- no one is doing better
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work than the foundation on the plight of children. thank you. >> thank you. tavis: the man who helped bring down bernie madoff, whistleblower harry markopolos, out with a new documentary. stay with us. harry markopolos and his investigative team spent 10 years building a case against the notorious bernie madoff. the best-selling book about his ordeal, "no one would listen", is the basis for the new documentary "chasing madoff." here are some scenes from "chasing madoff." >> this was a very powerful man. the chairman of nasdaq. >> we began building an intelligence network. i would say what you know about burnie and they would say, what do you know about burnie? >> someone higher up killed the
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story. we're the only line of defense. >> hearing was fearful for his life. >> carrying a gun is not a normal dad thing to do. >> this conversation never took place. >> one man with you to this pile of dung and stuck her nose in it and you could not figure out. tavis: i heard you say something the other day, simple but poignant. unfortunately, this is a true story. >> that is how i feel. we could have stopped and in 2000 at the time of the first admission. it should not have been allowed to go to 65 billion. tavis: why was allowed to go to $65 billion? >> the csec was captive to the industry and there were looking the other way. that is the problem with government. industry would like to capture the regulators and that is what happened here. tavis: tell me about what the sec was not doing, what they
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were not paying attention to that allowed this thing to burgeon? >> they were not looking at the big fraud on wall street by the big banks and the big brokerage firms. there was a protected species and burnie was a tight nahyan moll -- wall street and they looked the other way. the big banks got a free pass. tavis: why it look at the little guy and ignore the big guys? >> in law-enforcement, they have statistics in the arrests and convictions. it is easy to go after the little guy. the big case takes years to do a big, multibillion-dollar case because the bad guy at that level can afford a vigorous defense and hire an army of lawyers to defend themselves. tavis: everything i've read about this case over the last few years suggests that it was so obvious, that if anyone had taken any significant time to look at the case, it was such a
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house of cards, it would have been so obvious to anyone being attention. >> you should have been able to figure out -- it took me five minutes. it was obvious to anyone who cared to look. bernie madoff was paying people so much that they were willing to look the other way. >tavis: how did you and your team get so hooked into trying to make this case over a decade against bernie madoff before anyone would listen? >> i started out as a portfolio manager. bernie madoff was pretending to be a competitor and i could not match his unbelievable performance no. so he was stealing customers from me and my firm. if you steal from agree, we will come after you so that is what i did. -- steel from a greek, we will come after you so that is what i did. they would go to him because his numbers are perfect. he almost never had a losing month.
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it was unbelievable. like a baseball player . 960. tavis: what could he not just have been that good? why was it impossible that someone could be that good? there are baseball players who are that good. michael jordan on the basketball court was that it. >> the rec -- consistency of returns, it would be like batting doubles. never singles or triples. always doubles. it was too consistent and that was the giveaway. tavis: tell me about the tenure journey and how you started to gain some traction with people listening to what you and your team were trying to say. >> the first was in 2000. there were several more over a year's pre we got some traction in boston in 2005 on in the fall and they believed it. the case was centered in new
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york so they had it forward it down there and the two offices did not get along. boston told me that was in their jurisdiction, there would have had multiple teams tearing that apart and they would have figured out. in new york, they did not have a clue. >tavis: what did they look the the way? >> the salary wages are so high that the sec did not pay commensurately with industry. all the smart people went to industry and the was nothing left in government to do this type of case. they were not capable of doing a massive investigation against bernie madoff. they did not have the skill set. tavis: ss for me now the job -- assess for me the job the sec was doing. >> the scandal took the sec to its lowest point and they needed to become confident -- , but it quickly. they've sent people way to become certified fraud examiners.
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they are aggressive doing big cases against the big firms that were formerly on the protected species list. the only way to restore the reputation is doing big cases. tavis: what is there to note left about bernie madoff that we do not know from years of being dragged through this scandal? >> i would say one thing the american press gets wrong is they think it is an american jewish tragedy. it is a global tragedy. it is bigger in europe and there were more feeder funds of their but the europeans took it under quietly -- swept it quietly under the rug. they paid back 75,000. it got no coverage. the europeans do not want to see this see the light of day. tavis: i think i know you mean. you said that the media sees this as an american jewish tragedy.
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when you say that, putting a finger on the media, what you mean? >> they were far more -- there were far more non-jewish victims. it affected everyone. you did not need to be a millionaire. you could be a pension holder in the labor union. you did not need to be wealthy or jewish. all you have to do was be in the path of bernie madoff. tavis: it was true there was a certain type of clientele that he went after. there were people who have money who he would not take, larry king was on this program. he got burned in the scandal. larry king of course is jewish but he said to me, he knew a woman in florida who had more money than he had who made off would not take on as a client. there was a methodology who he would take on and who he would not take on as clients. biddingsed a perverse statin
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strategy. he would make a point to turn down certain people. people are sitting at a table, there are 10 there, he might turn down seven. they would be begging to get in and the word of mouth advertising would lead to new clients coming in. when they did come in finally they would not come in small. they gave him everything they have because he would say i am open for a short period of time so they would give him everything. they would lose everything. tavis: i wonder what your sense is having written the book and now the documentary -- i do not want to put you in a position of speaking for the community. this was the worst scams in the history of the world. it was run by a jew. >> i think they feel betrayed
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and they're ostracizing the madoff family. they come up to me and i think well.bore it we had one strong belief that bernie madoff stood for everything we stood against and so we did an investigation. the jewish community is the ankle. i get embarrassed when they thanked me. they come up as victims and thanked me. the market stopped bernie madoff. tavis: in the news, i was reading a story about this, what is going to happen to the mets' owner regarding the scandal, what he knew and when he knew it. >> that will be interesting to see how it plays out. they'd take their baseball very seriously in new york. he said he did not know -- he did not know it was a spoon the scheme.
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p -- ponzi scheme. i am not too sure he is guilty. there is an investigation ongoing and the truth will come out. tavis: has anybody got any money back as yet from this tragedy? >> yes. the european investors, many of them have been made whole. in the u.s., it will be hit or miss. if you came in through investor protection corp. '70s that were insured, you may get all your money back. if you did not come in through a specific insurance entity, you may be wiped out. it depends on how you got into bernie madoff. tavis: he has given one or two interviews since he has been on lockdown. has he said anything that caught your attention or your eye? anything he has said in prison you want to reference? >> most of what he says is lies. there are very few things he said was true. the big banks in on it with him,
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aiding and abetting and they had to know and he named for individuals who had to know. three of those four dead and one is 99 years old. that is one of the things he struck me as being true. the rest, pure fantasy. tavis: could this happen again? >> it can. we learned nothing from 2008. we did not make our system that stock. regulators are still starved for resources. there is a lack of aggression on the department of justice to bring the people responsible for the crisis to justice. not one bank ceo or cfo has gone to prison and that is a crime. tavis: someone started listening to him blowing his whistle. his name in harry markopolos and the book is "no one would listen". thanks for the work again and
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good to have you on this program. >> thank you. tavis: that is the show for tonight. good night from los angeles. thanks for watching and as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with lenny kravitz on the much anticipated release of his new cd. we will see you then. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it's the cornerstone we all know. it's not just a street or boulevard, but a place where wal-mart stands together with your community to make every day better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and answer, help tavis improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side.
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>> at toyota, we celebrate differences and the people who make them. toyota, a proud supporter of the washington, d.c. martin luther king, jr. national memorial project foundation. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] >>
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